The Productivity Pumpkin Oatmeal Bento

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I bought a new bento box this weekend at AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta)! I figured a cute little strawberry bento was worth $6.00. Here it is closed:

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It’s actually perfect for breakfast bentos because it is smaller than my usual ones. I was superbly productive this morning, prepping breakfast and dinner simultaneously. On the left is my oatmeal made with some canned pumpkin, vanilla protein powder, and pumpkin pie spice. I’m sure there will be many pumpkin-oriented posts in the future, so heads up! On the right is some pork sausage on some green beans.

I have neglected to post probably about 2-3 months worth of bentos due to the whole school thing getting in the way. I have a lot of catching up to do!

The Chicken Jerky Bento

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I got home from the gym two hours before I had to be at work, so in true Sherry Bobbins fashion, I had to cut some corners! I wrapped up a sweet potato in tin foil, set the oven to a blazing 450, and then proceeded to try to cook frozen chicken tenderloins along with the potato. I cannot stress enough the importance of not cooking chicken with other things because you might make yourself sick, so please do as I say and not as I did.

Anyway, when I pulled the chicken out of the oven, it looked fine on all accounts. It wasn’t until later that I realized I essentially made chicken jerky because it was stringy and tough. Not as bad as the jello fiasco, but nevertheless I feel it was still a mistake worth sharing.

I added the chicken (jerky) to a little salad with sautéed green beans. The little bunny rabbit housed double garlic, ginger and lime dressing that I splurged on at Whole Foods ($6 for salad dressing is excessive so I hope it makes a good marinade). It did make the chicken go down a little easier.

The sweet potato turned out beautifully and I put a teaspoon on Kerrygold Irish butter on it with pumpkin pie spice. It was glorious! As were the raspberries above it.

The Bell Pepper Bowl Bento

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A few days ago I bought two of the biggest green bell peppers I had even seen and intended to use them in a crockpot Philly cheesesteak recipe. But my intentions fell flat as usual and I had to quickly repurpose some produce! I cut off about a third of the pepper so it would be shallow enough to fit in the bottom compartment. I then stuffed some ground turkey taco meat (just lean ground turkey with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning) in the pepper with a little bit of Mexican shredded cheese. I cut up the rest of the bell pepper and sautéed it with sliced onions, using it as a side.

I then sautéed some green beans and added some plain Greek yogurt with Splenda and almond extract into the little compartment.

Now unfortunately due to my unseasonable allergies (THIS ISN’T SPRING?! Why is this happening to me?!), I haven’t been able to taste stuff very well. I actually drank so much water yesterday that I wasn’t hungry enough to eat this bento! But I was ravenous by the time I got home so I ate it for dinner. What I could taste was excellent and I would recommend this to everybody!

The Fruit n’ Cream Oatmeal Bento

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Remember when you were little and you would always bug your mom to get you the Quaker Oats Fruit n’ Cream sugar packets…I mean “Microwave Oatmeal?” My mom would get them for me occasionally and I would eat all the flavored ones, trying my best to avoid eating the boring packets of the plain one (you know, the healthy ones). And heck, if you’re in college, you probably still eat box after box of this stuff, using two packets because you’re an adult now! Well, I can’t justify eating that much sugar in one meal anymore. I think that if I’m going to eat a bowl full of sugar, I would much rather down an entire sleeve of Thin Mints and then deal with reassessing my life choices.

This bento was inspired by the sugary cereal of my youth and is a much healthier and filling adaptation that doesn’t skimp on taste! I started with boiling a little over one cup of water and then added 40g (about half a cup) of plain old fashioned oats and let it boil for about 5 minutes. In the middle of cooking I added about 6 cut strawberries, allowing them to heat up with the oats. They get mushy along with the oats and turn it pink without having to use crazy dyes! Once it was all done boiling I added half a scoop of Met-Rx vanilla protein powder and mixed it as thoroughly as I could. It is a bit messy but can be achieved with elbow grease.

I will be definitely doing this with my oatmeal from now on, especially to use up fruit in my fridge!

In the right compartment is fresh coconut, sweet potato, and maple almond butter.

The Unintentional Egg White Omelet Bento

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This bento tasted like accomplishment because I successfully made my first egg white omelet today! I really intended to make my scrambled egg whites with spinach and prepared everything as usual, but the mixture started to cook on the bottom in a perfect little circle. I realized I had turned the heat down just enough to cook the eggs and not make it smell like I was trying to fry them into oblivion. I gingerly lifted one side of the mass to meet the other edge and nothing broke! Hooray for accidents!

I put it on top of my sautéed green beans (that are less visible because of the green bento box). On the right is a cut up juicy little Georgia peach with plain Greek yogurt that I mixed with a packet of Splenda, almond extract, and slivered almonds. One of these days I will try to mix in stevia since I know it’s probably healthier and I get a lot of winces when I mention that I use Splenda. Until then my philosophy is “Everything in moderation,” or whatever the latest excuse is:)

The Elaine Benes Bento

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Sometimes you just need a big salad. Inspired by watching nothing but Seinfeld this week (my boyfriend and I have two seasons left, I believe), I decided to just have a big salad like Elaine for my lunch. I made a chicken taco salad and the only thing that makes it remotely taco related is guacamole as a dressing! I used up my baby spinach, added some rotisserie chicken, cucumber, cheese, and Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Guacamole (it’s made partially with Greek yogurt). It was delicious and filling!

The Vegan (out of necessity) Bento

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I ran out of money and subsequently regular food for this bento. Thus I had to excavate through the freezer to find some edible protein. I found some Gardein chick’n strips that I bought MONTHS ago at Kroger at a decent discount that I threw in the freezer for just such occasion. I threw some Trader Joe’s Eggplant Punjab on top to give it more flavor and it turned out to be tastier than I expected. I don’t think I will repeat it but it was enjoyable out of necessity.

Above it is some polenta that I pan fried and seasoned with salt and pepper. To the left is some mango I cut up while frying the polenta, nearly torching my apartment to the ground. It was all smoke and no flames, but enough to make me panic and double check the burners and even the oven (which I didn’t use at all).

And, of course, there are green beans that I sautéed in coconut oil with rosemary seasoning below the mango. They are my go-to vegetable choice!

The Oatmeal Bento

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For the past few weeks, I have actually just been bringing a small bowl of oatmeal with me to work because it is super convenient. But sadly it doesn’t always fill me up and is sometimes not appetizing enough to eat. When I make that oatmeal, I use the BSN Cinnamon Roll Protein Powder mixed with some almond milk. It’s rather gelatinous but pretty tasty if mixed well.

For this oatmeal I just mixed in some vanilla extract and a Splenda packet. There was also a fried banana recipe that is floating around Pinterest lately that I used. It calls for honey, which I did not have, but I just fried them in spray coconut oil and added some cinnamon. It turned out pretty tasty. To the right are sautéed green beans and avocado.

The 2.5 donuts that I consumed after this, however, were completely unnecessary and negated all healthy eating habits for the rest of the day.

The Quinoa Con Pollo Bento

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Quinoa and I have a small acquaintance with each other. We see each other in recipes, I scan it at work, but I never really cook it that often. The last time I tried cooking it was about two years ago in a recipe with scallops and a citrus sauce. In my naïve mind I thought that grapefruits were interchangeable with tangerines. They most certainly are not. So the only thing in the recipe that turned out well were the scallops and the sauce tasted incredibly sour. The quinoa turned out very grainy and not pliable, kind of like bird food. Thus I severed ties with it for a moment.

I have been curious about quinoa because it has more protein and fiber then rice does. I figured it would be a better grain to eat with meats and vegetables as opposed to pasta or just regular rice. Recently, I was talking about quinoa with a coworker of mine and I asked him how he cooked it. He told me he likes to sauté garlic and onions in the pot before adding the quinoa. He then adds 1 cup of quinoa and then 1 3/4 cups of water (as opposed to the 2 mentioned in the directions on the bag).
I figured that onions and garlic can’t hurt anything so I decided to try it. This is now my favorite way to cook quinoa!

So in the middle of the tray to the left is my quinoa, some sautéed green beans, and rosemary chicken. I’m a little addicted to that rosemary chicken. If you live by a Trader Joe’s, it is $2.99 a bag. It is frozen raw meat, though, so you do have to thaw it but it is well worth it! In the other tray are some baby carrots and baked sweet potato with maple almond butter.

I must admit that I ended up eating this bento for dinner. Because during when I normally would have eaten it, I decided to commit Carboside by eating a demi- French baguette and probably three quarters of a bag of snapea crisps. Afterwards I felt like I ate a boulder. I suppose I have to be more diligent with packing snacks.

The I’ve Made a Huge Mistake Bento

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Today’s bento made me a little sad later. I made scrambled egg whites (a 3:1 ratio egg white to egg), rosemary chicken, and sautéed green beans with half a blueberry Udi muffin and some black cherry jello. All was well in assembly and I took it to work, intending to eat it during huddle time before we opened the store.

I opened it up and this happened:

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Jello overtook my muffin, rendering it pretty unappetizing. So today’s PSA is DON’T PUT JELLO IN YOUR BENTO. Use a separate container like a normal person.

Everything else was delicious and untainted.